e-Assessment Case Studies

A number of leading examination and professional bodies enjoy a successful working partnership with BTL. Below are a number of case studies that show how we work with our partners to develop and deliver their successful, global e-Assessment programmes using our Surpass Assessment Platform.

Featured Case Study

Windesheim University of Applied Sciences
In this series of interviews, staff at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands explain how Surpass: The Assessment Platform touches on each of their unique roles, and the benefits this brings to the faculty and their students.




Windesheim University of Applied Sciences


Introducing Surpass to the Faculty and Maintaining Exam Quality

In these short interviews, Mark and Hans explain how, as business analyst and technology advisors, they worked together with faculty staff to introduce a new Software Platform, and how the university has used the opportunity to ensure a high level of quality is being maintained throughout the question authoring process.

“Then they realise, ‘Hmm, I can create a test using randomising rules, which creates a new test but I don’t have to, every three or four months, create a unique test myself again; I just click on the button, and there it is!’” – Hans Selles

“Additionally, what they also prefer is that they are able to test in a different way. For instance, our sports and education studies can test with video and that’s a nice way for students as well to be assessed in specific fields.” – Mark Heupink





Usability – Using Surpass to Easily Create Better Assessments

As both a lecturer and Chair of the Examination Board, Kirsten has a lot of experience with assessment technology. Talking to us in her native Dutch, she explains the advantages of using Surpass over other software and how its simple usability helps her workflow.

“With the previous software, I had lots of problems adding tables and graphs – which are useful for a subject such as economics – to a question, and that is just so much easier in Surpass.” (translated from Dutch) – Kirsten Huising




The Advantages of Digital Testing for Educational Staff

Louis is an IT manager at Windesheim and responsible for the implementation of Surpass. In this short interview, Louis talks about how large volumes of tests are delivered concurrently across the campus, and how Surpass helps to ensure a reliable, simple-to-use workflow.

“To me, the biggest advantage in digital testing is that once you’ve set up your test, you’re ready to go multiple times. There’s no work left over for the second, third or 44th test!” – Louis Klump




Government regulated school leaving and university entrance



WJEC


“I was given the role of developing two new A-Levels, and, on my arrival what I actually wanted to do was make those A-levels paperless.” – Allan Perry (WJEC)
WJEC are a pioneering awarding organisation based in Cardiff. Following a very thorough development process, in 2009 they delivered the very first on-screen only general qualifications to England and Wales with the help of the Surpass Assessment Platform.
In this 4 minute case-study video, Allan Perry (Subject Officer) and Ian Morgan (Acting Director of IT) explain why it was important that these new examinations were developed with a new generation of candidates in mind.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is get additional value out of the BTL Software [Surpass] so we can use it for on-screen assessment… but we can also then use the processes and the workflows which are inbuilt to the BTL system, so we can support our paper based assessment mechanisms as well.” Ian Morgan (WJEC)


Starting with Allan’s arrival at WJEC, the introduction explains how his vision was achieved by working together with BTL and the Surpass Platform.
Ian and Allan then go on to discuss how taking advantage of the extra functionality and processes available in Surpass has positively affected the organisation’s collaborative workflow and helps them adhere to strict security processes when working with traditional paper-based examinations.
Finally, their journey is complete when Surpass is used to mark exam scripts electronically; efficiently distributing detailed scores and allowing teachers to make innovative use of results in candidate review sessions.

Case Study highlights include:

  • The challenges and rewards of using technology in the general qualification process
  • Using technology to improve general qualification assessments
  • The benefits of using an on-screen marking system, including teacher and student benefits
  • Using an on-screen assessment platform to improve the paper based process
  • The benefits of having one digital system for collaborative processes


AQA


“AQA has a really pivotal role as a charity in showcasing how an exam board can deliver not just assessment products but a really valuable and empowering assessment service.”

AQA is the largest of the unitary awarding bodies, delivering general qualifications (GCSE and A-Levels) in the UK. In this series of short video clips Dave Mellor, Judith Rowland-Jones and Seb Ross talk about the challenges they face in the modern assessment environment, and how experience combined with a practical use of technology helps their organisation to improve logistical processes, while also developing new systems to ensure every candidate gets the result they deserve.

“AQA has a really pivotal role as a charity in showcasing how an exam board can deliver not just assessment products but a really valuable and empowering assessment service. And that’s in terms of the design of the assessment tasks, in terms of the marking, in terms of the way the evidence is kept and held securely, in terms of the authentication processes to ensure that every student gets the result that they deserve…” – Seb Ross (AQA)

Download the AQA Case Study Playlist Transcript


This case study playlist covers several topics, including:

  • The challenges and rewards of using technology in the general qualification process
  • Addressing the challenges of delivering on-screen general qualifications
  • Using technology to improve general qualification assessments
  • Using SurpassPaper+ as a tool to evolve paper-based assessments
  • The use of technology in schools
  • The benefits of using an on-screen marking system

Looking for something more specific? We have a range of case studies and testimonials grouped into topic specific playlists on our YouTube channel.

SQA Biotechnology


Find out how BTL e-Assessment solutions helped the SQA deliver Intermediate 2 and Higher external assessments on-screen.

SQA Biotechnology Case Study


Speaking, listening, reading and writing language testing


The British Council


Case Study Focus: Language Testing Overseas

The British Council have released a series of case studies for their globally recognised Aptis English Language test on YouTube.
We are extremely proud to work with the organisation, which uses the Surpass Platform to deliver the Aptis assessment overseas, and would like to share those case studies with other Surpass users and potential users.


The British Council – Presentation


Case Study Focus: International Delivery In this short video, Jermaine Prince from The British Council talks about the experience and challenges faced when delivering assessments internationally, and the solutions to overcoming such challenges.

“Obviously, as you can understand, we’re dealing with many countries that have many schools that actually want to facilitate this test, so obviously connectivity is a key area in this. And, the centre infrastructure, I think that is a common and well known problem, especially when you’re dealing with anything which involves technology…” – Jermaine Prince, British Council

Download the British Council Presentation Transcript





Functional and essential skills




The City & Guilds Functional Skills ICT Simulations Test Project


For nearly a decade, City & Guilds has offered e-Assessment on the Global On Line Assessment (GOLA) platform. From a summative assessment perspective, this has been solely a multiple choice offering. City & Guilds has, however, become increasingly aware of the need to introduce more contemporary and sophisticated assessments in line with current pedagogical thinking and technological advances.

Learn how City & Guilds and BTL worked together to create test ICT simulations for their Functional Skills programme.

The City & Guilds Functional Skills ICT Simulations Test Project




Chris Jones, CEO of City & Guilds, talking at the BTL 30th Anniversary Forum


Chris Jones offered a strong case study from City & Guilds, telling the story of how they quickly embraced e-assessment in 2002 and have not looked back since. Technology has changed rapidly and is a game changer for education, being core to the modern success of City & Guilds. He addressed how E-assessment is now the primary testing channel for City & Guilds, with paper very much the exception.
City & Guilds assess millions of exams over the year, awarding over 2 million qualifications across 80 different markets.


Download the Transcript of Chris Jones, CEO of City & Guilds, talking at the BTL 30th Anniversary Forum


If this volume of tests were delivered by paper, it would not be logistically appropriate, and would result in a negative effect on the students. Chris shared his desire that paper assessment should be phased out with the main reason being simple: e-Assessment provides a better service and City & Guilds is a shining example of how this can work and the benefit to the business it can bring. Since City & Guilds started moving to e-assessment, they have certificated 16 million online tests across the world. However, these changes have taken time, and must continue to be done in such a way to ensure that the quality of the experience is not compromised.
Partnering with BTL for the last 5 years has worked well for City & Guilds, due to our understanding of education, training, and the role of assessment and technology. Chris Jones stated that City & Guilds are proud to work with BTL and look forward to a continuing partnership.
Technology has plenty to offer the development of assessment and by working with companies like BTL, City & Guilds believe that technology is an opportunity and not a threat, or a risk, for education institutions and work alike. The benefits of e-assessment are clear, benefits simply not possible with pen and pencil. To make the most of this exciting future, changes need to be made to the availability of broadband and technology in within the classroom; it’s too important not to invest in this, and we all have a role to play in embracing technology to improve the delivery and measurement of teaching and learning. BTL are playing an important role with working with City & Guilds to bring about change.



Medical




The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)


Learn more about how RCPCH are providing a better assessment for their students in this video:

“What would I say to other Royal Colleges…? It (Surpass) is going to provide a better exam for your candidates. It’s going to be more ‘Real World’. We’re improving something that’s already recognised, globally, as being a world quality exam, and the outcome from that is a better outcome for children.” – Dr. Will Carroll (RCPCH)

Download the RCPCH Case Study Transcript



The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Presentation


Case Study Focus: First steps into computer based testing In this User Group presentation, Julia O’Sullivan from RCPCH talks about how the Royal College took their first steps towards computer based testing, and how working with BTL to implement Surpass has helped them stay on track and address problems and concerns with making the leap from paper to onscreen.
This presentation was filmed before the full implementation of Surpass (which has now happened) and as such, Julia O’Sullivan talks about how a pilot scheme was initiated, and how the valuable data extracted from the scheme was used to shape the final delivery of the platform.

“One of the things BTL do, which none of the other companies were doing, was they invited us to take part in a workshop before the final presentation. So when we got going to our last three companies, they invited us to a workshop to go through everything we wanted to do, and work through some of those processes, so they were starting to gain real understanding around things, and the final proposal they presented showed that they did understand what we were about as well.”
“…They sourced the test centre network …we said where we deliver the exam, which is all over the UK, and overseas, and they sourced all these test centres for us, so I think they worked really hard to do that.” – Julia O’Sullivan, RCPCH (To find out more about how we’ve since expanded our test centre network, call us on 01274 203 250 )

Download the RCPCH Presentation Transcript





Higher education




Windesheim University (Hans Selles)


In these two presentation videos, Hans Selles from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands talks about various aspects of digital testing and how Surpass assists in managing these processes.



Saxion University of Applied Sciences


“We think we are heading towards more formative tests in Surpass, because they help to predict where students need to study.”

With thousands of students from countries across the world, Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands is a pioneer not only in its own country, but within the Higher Education sector in Europe.
A long-time user of on-screen assessments, Saxion started using Surpass in 2012 when they were looking for a system that could better meet the current and future needs of a large, modern, multi-campus international university. Chosen following a rigorous selection procedure, BTL and Saxion have worked together to ensure a smooth transition and enjoy working together as partners, creating a better future for assessments.

“We use Surpass to guarantee quality…producing the right tests and the right test matrix…” – Leen Van Kaam (Saxion)
“The migration to Surpass was a big effort, but everyone sees what we can do now with Surpass, that we couldn’t with the application before. The relationship with BTL is very nice. You can say what you want… and within the year you get what you want in the application.” – Alwin Wullink (Saxion)


In this short video, Leen and Alwin from Saxion University provide a fantastic insight into the way Higher Education establishments in the Netherlands handle their assessment processes and work together to create a better future for their education system.
Starting off by talking about how Surpass allows the hundreds of potential test authors to create a better quality test by working together, the topic moves onto Saxion’s relationship with BTL and the migration from their old assessment platform to Surpass, which is now used for authoring, scheduling and delivering tests, as well as reporting and analysis of test performance.
Finally, Alwin shares his thoughts on the benefit of digital testing throughout the university, while Leen looks towards the future of more formative testing using the system to further improve examinations.
Video interviews from other members of the Saxion faculty will be available in the future.

This case study playlist covers several topics, including:

  • Migration from one system to another
  • Using technology to improve the quality of assessments
  • Student benefits from digital testing
  • Impressions of the working relationship with BTL

Looking for something more specific? We have a range of case studies and testimonials grouped into topic specific playlists on our YouTube channel.

Saxion University (The Netherlands)


Case Study Focus: e-Assessment integration for large scale summative testing. In this case study presentation, Leen Van Kaam, a System Administrator from Saxion University in The Netherlands talks about the integration and scalability of the Surpass platform, and how the system was chosen following a strict tendering process. She also mentions that following the implementation of Surpass, all 12 of the University’s schools have been successfully transferred into one solution, and are currently delivering between 40 – 50,000 summative assessments per year.

“We had 12 different schools, almost independent, and they all were used to doing their own thing, so they had to have their own centre we they were able to do their own thing with their own roles and privileges. Privileges are very important, for instance a lecturer in Saxion never develops an exam, he only develops questions and he’s making on paper an exam matrix, and that’s his work.” – Leen Van Kaam, Saxion University

Download the Saxion University Presentation Transcript





Vocational




EAL e-Assessment Case Study


EAL (EMTA Awards Limited) is the UK’s leading awarding organisation for engineering National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and their Scottish equivalent, SVQs. EAL offers e-Assessment for our VRQ qualifications and Key Skills.

This case study provides an insight into how EAL delivers their e-Assessment programme using the Surpass® e-Assessment Platform.

EAL: e-Assessment Case Study




TDA QTS Skills Tests

The TDA (Training & Development Agency for Schools) develops the QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) Skills tests. The tests cover numeracy, literacy and ICT; these tests assess specific skills in the context of a teacher’s professional role. All trainee teachers in England must pass the skills tests as a prerequisite for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.

Learn how BTL’s test content authoring tool ContentProducer and BTL’s VirtualDesktop was used to develop relevant and engaging test content.

TDA QTS Skills Tests


AAT Computer Based Pilot

Find out how the AAT and BTL successfully undertook their first on-screen delivery of their live exams.

AAT Pilot Case Study


Test Delivery Services


Pitman Training (Test Centre Network)

Pitman Training deliver a large number of assessments for BTL’s partners and customers. In this short interview, Mahar Uddin explains how a test centre easily prepares for delivering on-screen assessments using Surpass, the number of exams delivered, and some of the challenges involved such as internet connectivity issues and uncooperative candidates.

“Surpass makes it very easy to deliver exams…It’s a testament to the platform, how robust it is, that we’ve never had to call the help desk; but we know that the help desk is always there.
[It’s important to have a rigorous preparation system because] Any time you invigilate, you’re invigilating to protect the exam.” – Mahar Uddin (Pitman Training)




Reflections on assessment





Surpass community experiences


NCFE

In this presentation (recorded at the 2016 Surpass Conference in Edinburgh) long-time Surpass user Becky Vergnano documented how NCFE handled the original implementation of Surpass, and the lessons learned along the way.
The talk is full of great advice that can be shared with other organisations just starting out in the field of on-screen testing and assessment software, and is also a good refresher for all e-assessment users in thinking about how they can make the most of their assessment platform.


Surpass community experiences playlist






Testing on tablets






Paper-based testing with Surpass






On-screen marking in Surpass






Using technology in assessment – BTL Westminster Forum event



Download the Transcript of Chris Jones, CEO of City & Guilds, talking at the BTL 30th Anniversary Forum
Download the Transcript of Prof. Peter Twining talking at the BTL 30th Anniversary Forum



Using a Test Centre Network





Getting Started With e-Assessment
At the 2016 Surpass Conference, several new users were happy to share their unique experience of embracing e-Assessment.
From each individual account, you can see how different organisations have handled the initial setup and integration, their intentions for rolling Surpass usage out further, and the impact they expect it to have on their business.

Experience first-hand how and why CILEx selected Surpass in “Customer Experiences” with Vicky Purtill, from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

“Why did we choose BTL? Recommendation of others was really important, they had experience in the Awarding Organisation sector, which when you’re OFQUAL-regulated (as well as Qualification Wales and CCEA) and delivering regulated tests, it’s really important that you get it right.”



Discover how Surpass has helped to overcome the challenge of global test security and remote delivery in “Customer Experiences – The Welding Institute (TWI)” with Maurice Whittaker.

“We had people recording exam papers on their pens and putting it onto YouTube. We’ve had people broadcasting the exam via the same mechanism to people outside the room who are sending the answers back…”



Hear Menno de Vos from NHTV Breda University (the Netherlands) talk about their previous experience with another supplier, and why Surpass has been chosen to re-ignite the e-Assessment process.

“2020 is the goal to have all of our academies working together in Surpass… If I talk to educational managers, they all want it now…”





Professional accreditation


Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)


Case Study Focus: Marking high stakes assessments This presentation was a joint delivery by BTL staff and Marie Larusson of AAT addressed the different ways powerful tools like Surpass can be used to facilitate and improve marking of high-stakes transcripts, taking advantage of the intuitive user roles set within the software.

“We also separately offered some paper-based exams, but only to students that qualified for reasonable adjustments or special considerations. For any other students, we stopped offering paper-based in December 2013 when we had our last sitting. All the new qualifications that we launch from now on are only offered as computer-based on SecureAssess.” – Marie Larusson, AAT

Download the AAT Presentation Transcript


CACHE


Case Study Focus: Introducing a new e-assessment platform to replace an existing system In this case study presentation, Clare Ruiz-Palma from Cache talks about the selection process and integration of an e-assessment solution, from the perspective of a client who wanted to change providers.
This particular study is a fantastic example of a customer being able to tell us not only how they’ve made use of existing Surpass features, but also how they are able to plan future improvements by working with us to feed into the Surpass product roadmap.

“We came down to three products, and in the end – after going through a similar sort of tick process – Surpass came out as the clear winner. The reasons that we went for us that it matched our requirements, particularly one of the requirements we needed was block-booking of candidates, and also it was fairly priced and also about the company. Some of the companies we looked at were a bit smaller, we weren’t totally sure how it was going to go with their own app.” – Clare Ruiz Palma, CACHE

Download the CACHE Presentation Transcript